I’ve been the director of a women’s organization and conference for 17 years, and providing opportunities for women to find their passion, dreams and their voice is an important mission for me. I’ve learned many lessons on this path of helping other women, but none quite as powerful as the road lesson I had one year ago.

On May 6th, the day of my very first interview on my book Women of Wisdom: Empowering the Dreams and Spirit of Women, I spoke of the importance of women leaders, of women speaking up, becoming leaders of their own lives.

On the way home, I merged onto the freeway and was preparing to change lanes to exit to another freeway, so my focus was towards my right. Someone later pointed out that’s towards the future. I was aware of a strange shaped truck to my left, and had passed it slightly. I noticed it was strange as I looked at the new white semi truck; it had a flat bed with white canvas coverings over what looked like two huge boats.

The next thing I know I’m “bumped” behind my back seat door. I realize I’ve been hit by the truck, and the shock continued as he continued to push me out of my lane. I knew there was another lane to my right with cars merging onto the freeway, and cars merging to that lane to exit, that I couldn’t go anywhere. So I was jostled about, and then I shot forward out of control and I knew I was being catapulted at an angle in front of the truck and towards 2-3 more lanes of traffic with cars, who wouldn’t have seen me because of the truck.

It was a flat front Ryder truck. And before I knew it I was just moved to be right in front of the truck, my driver’s door smack against the front of the truck, and I was stuck there, and pushed for about a quarter of a mile. I wondered when is he going to slow down, it seemed to take forever and finally I felt him slow down and I looked to my right side and saw he was moving to the side of the road which at first scared me that I would be squished into a bulk head, but we just stopped and parked along the freeway.

I got out as quickly as I could, climbing over the gearshift, and out the passenger door. He had come out of his cab, and stood there perplexed asking what had happened. “You merged into me,” I said. I couldn’t understand his question, as wasn’t it obvious? Luckily one witness stopped.

It is no accident the lessons in this event. I learned so much. It wasn’t until the insurance adjustor came to my house two days later and told me the driver never knew he had hit my car, let alone pushed it along the freeway. He only stopped as he thought he blew a tire!

I speak to many groups about this as it illustrates the wounded feminine in our world. I’m not speaking about gender here, so guys don’t take this personally. I think probably this community of selfgrowth experts would understand this and would value the feminine.

Here I was in my lane, and I’m pushed aside. How many women feel that way? Not listened to, ignored, not valued for their contributions. When I speak to groups the heads nod up and down. They know that feeling. It still happens in the work place, in our homes, etc. And how many men are aware this is still going on?

And that feeling of not having any control over it – the loss of control I felt with my car – I was totally in a situation where I had to surrender and I actually thought as I was about to be pushed out into traffic – this is it. How can we change this dynamic? Women ask me that. How do I deal with patriarchy in the workplace? How can I be heard?

And to find out he never knew I was there! For women to feel they are not seen is a deep wounding.

The aspect that I still need to work on is it’s my responsibility to be seen. I assumed he saw me, and I assumed he knew he was pushing me, but I was totally out of his sight. If you can imagine a huge truck where he sits high up, the blind spot is also in front of the truck.

It is for me to speak up, let others know I’m here, and what I have to contribute has value. We can’t wait for others to point to the platform and say here’s the spotlight on you. That’s not going to happen.

And the other amazing aspect is he didn’t know he had hurt me, which just symbolized how much the male doesn’t know he’s hurt the female. Or how much the masculine has hurt the feminine even inside us. Now I said, this isn’t about gender. There are women with more masculine traits than feminine, so this lesson is for all of us.

Sometimes it is, but it also affects men. On a radio show a man called up and thanked me for my talk, as he felt he could not show his feminine side at work. How many men feel they have to hide their soft side? Their intuitive nature? Their receptive, yin side, versus always being in action, always taking charge.

Both are valuable, both feminine and masculine natures are needed and we need this balance in the world. I speak to groups about honoring and respecting the feminine gifts we have. I have to look inside myself when and where I’m rejecting my feminine. And I know I do it to protect myself, as I, along with many other women, have learned it’s not safe to share those gifts, as they aren’t honored in our society.

I see a shift thought and I think the world is creating a new paradigm of shared leadership, balanced in yin and yang. President Obama is even exemplifying this. He’s focusing on transparency, inclusivity, listening to the people. And he’s showing that to the world, he’s not afraid to be himself.

We have to do the same. It’s time to speak up, be leaders, bring all parts of ourselves to the table and respect others for all the gifts they bring. Look at when you reject what someone says, rather than listening to what the gift is, what is the message. And look at when you reject inside yourself what you’d like to share, feeling like others won’t accept it. How often do we silence ourselves?

I tell women it’s practice that helps you deal with people who aren’t open to your ideas, who you feel don’t listen to you. Practice comes with speaking up in groups of people you feel safe with such as a women’s circle. I know my voice is stronger for being a part of Women of Wisdom, which operates in a circle leadership modality. I’ve witnessed others grow from the same practice through years of creating a community where the feminine is honored, and men are apart of this community too.

It’s time to take the risks, and learn as we go. I know most women in this group of selfgrowth experts are leaders, and yet we are still learning how to honor and respect the feminine. Let’s go out there and help others who are still struggling, and feel isolated in their wounds. We need to show them there’s a way out of the wounding, which is going inside and accepting ourselves for who we are and recognizing we’re not alone and we have special gifts to share.

Author's Bio: 

Kris Steinnes is the visionary founder of Women of Wisdom Foundation and in 1993 she organized the first WOW Conference in Seattle. Year after year she has brought together women leaders from many fields to to share their experiences and help build a world in which women’s voices are heard and feminine wisdom can be live to its fullest. A native of Seattle, Kris is a minister, spiritual leader and meditation teacher with a commitment to bringing feminine consciousness to the fore of our collective experience.

Kris is the author of Women of Wisdom: Empowering the Dreams and Spirit of Women, an award winning finalist for Best New Non Fiction 2008 from USA Book News. She is the founder of Wise Woman Publishing. wisewomanpublishing.com